Singer Mary J. Blige and her 10-piece band will perform in New York on Dec. 4 at an upcoming benefit for Lifebeat, a music industry organization created to reach youth with a message of HIV/AIDS prevention. The evening, “Live Beats: A Night of Musical Mayhem and Tonal Terror Fashioned by Fun(k),” will honor BET’s own Executive Vice-President of Entertainment and Music Programming, Stephen Hill, who serves as a Lifebeat board member. Funds raised at the event will go towards the organization’s efforts. To purchase tickets, visit www.lifebeat.org.
Rapper Nas clarified that a snippet circulating on the Internet titled “What It Is” is not a track from his forthcoming album, controversially titled Ni--r. In fact, he said, he said his vocals had been lifted. “I never rhymed to that beat,” Nas told MTV.com. He announced that the album will be released during Black History Month (February) with the first single out in January. Previously, he told media the CD would be available next month.
Rapper Bryan “Birdman” Williams and 15 others were released early yesterday morning after being jailed in Tennessee for possession of, according to WVLT-TV, nearly a half-ounce of marijuana. The crew were on their way to BET studios in NY to promote Birdman's new album, 5 Star G when their bus was stopped for making an improper lane change on Interstate 81. Let Williams tell it, “We was on the bus. I was asleep in the back,” he told MTV.com. “Why they pulled us over, I don't know. The people are making the situation out worse than what it is. We got arrested for a misdemeanor amount of [marijuana] – we didn’t have no pound. The police just found something minor in a garbage can the dog sniffed. We all got out on bond.”
Rapper Fat Joe is being honored today at the 1st Annual Dinner and Awards Gala of In Arms Reach for his support of the organization’s developmental programs for children of incarcerated parents. “My community has been the foundation of everything I’ve ever accomplished in music and my business ventures,” Fat Joe told AllHipHop.com. “It’s the role of hip-hop to give voice to the most overlooked, and it’s the role of every responsible person to look into the community and be a positive force to as many as we possibly can. …I’m proud to help bring awareness to this segment of youth, at a time when so many of our families in the minority community remain separated by the system.”
Also being recognized this evening is Carl Banks, former NY Giants linebacker; Hon. Jerome W. Marks, retired NY State Supreme Court Judge; and Dr. Stanford A. Roman, Jr., Dean of City College of NY’s Sophie Davis School of Bio-Medical Education. Singer Trey Songz will perform. Rapper Saigon sits on the board of directors.
Miami based-rapper Rick Ross’ sophomore album, Trilla, has been pushed back to Feb. 19. The original release date was set for Dec. 18. The album’s first single, “Speedin” featuring R. Kelly, peaked at number 76 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “’Trilla’ means real enough and was really inspired by Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller,’” Rick Ross explained to Billboard.com. “It's going to be the biggest street album of the year.” Guest appearances on the album include Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne, Trick Daddy, Akon, T-Pain, and Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry.
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